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Entries from July 2016

Saturday 9: Sara Smile


Hey, guys and dolls... Link up here with Crazy Sam if you're playing along today, too!

Saturday 9: Sara Smile (1976)

... Because Kwizgiver suggested Hall & Oates. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This was Hall & Oates' first #1 hit. Can you name another of their popular songs?
"Maneater" was the first one that came to mind. I remember when it was popular on the radio.

2) Daryl Hall and Sara Allen were a couple for 30 years, and he wrote this at the beginning of their long relationship. That makes this a very public love letter. Are you good at writing love letters? Would you rather tell the person how you feel, face to face? Or do you let your actions speak louder than your words?
I've written many a love letter in my time. I think I'm pretty good at it. Never had one get rejected, anyway. One of the best lines ever received in a love letter to me read, "You may not be the girl of my dreams, but you are the girl in my dreams." I adored it!

3) In the song, Daryl and Sara are waiting for the sunrise. Did you see the sunrise this morning? Or did you sleep in?
Sophia and I were up well before the sun, and now Hubs and son Jack are up before the sun, too. Oops, here comes Chloë, too. Yup, we're all early risers this morning!

4) Both Hall & Oates hail from the Philadelphia area. Hall is a native of suburban Pottstown, which was a stop on the Reading/Philadelphia rail line made famous in Monopoly. Do you like playing board games?
I do! I love Trivial Pursuit the best, and games like it. Although... Quelf is pretty fun, and I am dying to play Cards Against Humanity. Never have.

5) John Oates grew up a few miles away from Pottstown in North Wales. Decades ago, North Wales' biggest employer was a cigar factory. Do you like the smell of a cigar?
Gross, no way! On a related note, someone at the local hospital marked my hospital record as though I am a heavy smoker. I pitched a minor fit about it... record changed.

6) Daryl Hall now hosts a music show, Live from Daryl's House, that you catch free online. Do you typically watch shows from your computer, pad, phone or TV set?
I don't, except for Jeopardy! on the telly.
7) Hall & Oates are currently on tour. Are you seeing/have you seen a concert this summer?

No... it's not currently in the budget, sigh. Taylor Swift '15 in Miami was my last concert, and Chloë's first. Unless you count the guy beautifully playing cello on the corner in Coconut Grove as a busker to pay for his Juilliard audition trip last weekend? Jack and I each gave the guy a dollar. (This is another busking cellist, not 'my' guy.)
8) Daryl and John have been friends for 50 years, even living together at the beginning of their careers when money was tight. Another successful duo of the rock era, Simon & Garfunkle, also met as teens but they forever seem to be feuding. What do you think makes for a lasting friendship/partnership?
My two BFFs, Shana (a concert violinist in her own right), and Dr. Lisa, have been my awesome friends for almost 30 years. They are two completely different personalities, but they have several things in common: very intelligent, fun sense of humor, and fierce loyalty to our friendship. I can honestly say that these two women have been with me through thick and thin, more than anybody else in my life except my own husband, but even longer! Love you ladies!

9) Random question:  Are you quick to try new things?
Yes! Pretty quick. I love change, actually. I get bored quickly and easily, and I'm always doing 10 things at once. As much as one can, anyway. I can't stand sticking with the status quo, when that clearly isn't working. It's called progress, people: embrace it! ;)
Thanks for your visit! Make sure you stop by the rest of the Sat9ers' posts, too!

Daughters, Sisters... Friends.


These girls.

They're like typical sisters when they argue. They fight over everything related to sharing a room and a bathroom, especially the Wet Brush I bought Chloë, along with her 'it's a 10 miracle leave-in' conditioner, to tame her crazy, wild curls. Never mind that she decided to straighten it today with the flat iron I gave her for Christmas; none of us knew that I would be blogging about the two of them tonight!

They do get along famously well most of the time, don't get me wrong. But just like my sister Stacey and I did when we were younger - and, unlike the 3½ years that separate my daughters, we were only 17 months apart - the arguments can get rather bitter and nasty.

Sophia never puts things she "borrows" back in their proper place. Including my scissors, which is why I have five different pairs. Including my Sharpies, which is why I jumped on a recent hot deal to get a 24-pack of all different colors at Office Depot for eight bucks and change and came home with an announcement that they were MINE... until Sophia decided to help herself and then either not return them, or else leave the capless marker where I could find it, all dried out. So I know all too well the pain-in-the-buttness that is my youngest child, but Rob and I have come to embrace it with the hashtag #BecauseSophia. We use it often.

Tonight, the altercation started over that damned Wet Brush again and continued when I needed plums for a tart I'm going to make. Both girls decided to come along for the trip to the store. (Which meant, by the way, that a simple run for plums turned into the additional need for peaches, strawberries, and avocados. All money well spent, to be sure, but not what I had intended!)

Both girls like to ride "shotgun" when I'm driving, so they take turns when the three of us go out together. It doesn't matter that this works out to Even Stevens on taking turns riding there; a fight happens regardless when it's time to return to the car and switch spots.

Then, one of the girls will get huffy over a song on the radio that the other chose, because one likes it, and the other doesn't. I usually let whoever is riding up front pick what we listen to on the radio, while retaining veto power. So all this nonsense over first a hairbrush, then a seat position in the car, and finally choosing this song or that song on the radio, devolved into a perfectly icky sisterly squabble.

I know it's normal. I know it's even natural. But if you're a mom of teens and/or tweens, you know that it is annoying AF.

I decided to devise a way to get them back on the same team, Team Odette, without their really even recognizing what I was doing: by blahgging about it.


Sophia Lorelei.

My youngest child, at 11½. Still doesn't even know how to spell her middle name properly half the time, nor does she particularly care. She's going to be a bit of a wild child when she's grown up, I just know it. A little party girl.

She denies it, but when she and I are alone in the car, we start jamming along to loud beats and club mixes on the radio together. She bops her head to the music and encourages me to join her - so of course, I do!

I can totally picture her in the club, 21 years old, and maybe dancing with her hair swinging around on tabletops and counters. And the bar, a la Coyote Ugly. (Hopefully not drunk and nekkid!)

[Side story: Once upon a time, in 1997 or '98, my friends Kristal, Shana, and I were on Duval Street in Key West, out to have some fun. I was 21, had just graduated from college, ready to party it up a little bit, right? No harm, no driving, just fun. The three of us started off at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, where I had a big salad and, of course, a big ol' margarita. Salt on the rim. All delicious. Then we wandered around, bar-hopping, and having different drinks in each one. I forget where we were when the bartender sent over a shot of tequila to the three of us. Down the hatch! We ended up somewhere where Kristal, who is Trinidadian, taught me to "wind" during a Caribbean-based song. The two of them sat at a table nearby, probably laughing at me, while I danced barefoot in the middle of the bar, alone and having the time of my life, completely inebriated. Next thing I know, someone handed me a big cup of Guinness beer. I drank that too, of course. I didn't like beer at all then, but certainly not a dark beer on top of all that other crap I'd had. After downing it on the dance floor with some unknown male, I immediately had to run to the bathroom and lose everything, complete with my Margaritaville salad at the end. What a shame; it was a really good salad the first time. Eww, I know, but this is all to say, I don't judge Sophia for her future doing much of exactly this sort of shenaniganizing. As long as she's 21, not driving, not doing ANY drugs, and please no smoking... then I'm all for it. Live it up while you can, girl!]

So that's my Sophia. Wild, unpredictable, spontaneous, but full of joy. She is my "carpe diem" child all the way. 

Tonight, at Walmart, she was wearing her nightgown, had unkempt hair... broken arm from being bucked off her horse during a lesson, and did not have a care in the world. Why? "Because I can."

Her favorite song right now is this one:

She knows all the lyrics and puts me to shame when I try to sing along with her. And I love that.


Chloë Raine.

She'll be 15 in the beginning of September, and she acts every bit of that and more. Most of the time, she's respectful toward her parents, sweet, and willing to help around the house without too much huffiness. She cares about her appearance very much and is about as vain as her mother. Heh. She's well-spoken and possesses the vocabulary of someone much older, but a lot of it is mispronounced because she learns the words first from reading, then tries them out in her speech.

When a club-beat song comes on the radio and Sophia and I start jamming to it, Chloë sits in the back seat and rolls her eyes, waiting for a calmer song to come on the radio. Not always patiently, I might add.

If she did any of that club-scene wild-child partying stuff I mentioned above for Sophia, I would be shocked but not completely surprised. No, Chloë has it all planned out. We're currently working on her curriculum for 10th grade, which she's heading into this year, and then her junior and senior years will also be planned out in advance. She's looking at northern colleges where she can be in a pre-vet program in a much colder, snowier environment than sultry Miami here in the subtropics. After graduation, she wants to get into a top-notch vet school and concentrate on the health and care of cats. (We already call her the Crazy Cat Lady.) One of Sophia's horse instructors, Celia, would prefer Chloë to be an equestrian vet instead; apparently there are a shortage of good ones and she'd make bank doing it.

Chloë even wants to marry a potato farmer and live somewhere in Idaho, while she's out vettin' cats (or horses or whatever). She is half-joking about this, but I wouldn't be surprised if that is how it plays out for her.

Her favorite song on the radio right now is this one:

... which should surprise no one, since she's a complete Swiftie and would love to be a part of Taylor's squad!

So there's no shocker about these two girls not getting along over the minutiae of life sometimes, right?


To end their post-shopping trip squabble, I asked the girls about their favorite colors, let them each pick which fruit to buy (Sophia wanted strawberries; Chloë preferred peaches), and asked them to tell me which song was their current favorite.

And I asked them to pose for this series of staged photos, for this blog. Between the back-to-back angry posing and discussing things that pissed them off about each other, and then this one where Sophia is sharing a strawberry with Chloë, who is holding her sister's broken arm comfortingly, my ploy worked. 

They smirked. They giggled. Then they couldn't stop laughing. Paco photo-bombed the first shot of them sharing a berry, because he loves those things. Hysterics ensued. They hugged it out, without my even asking them to do so. They shared headphones and earbuds, and they came up with a song they both love the most right now:

I had to laugh. This song came out in, like, 1999 or something. Two years before Chloë was even born! And they're always dogging on me for loving my old music from the 80s and 90s. Haha, joke's on you, girls! You like music even I thought was lame when it first came out almost 20 years ago!

But enough of that. They are getting along again, and they're doing it amazingly well. And all I had to do was ask them about music and have them pose for a few silly pictures. Yeah. I call that a legit #MomWin, don't you?

Let's see how long it lasts this time.


Wordless Wednesday: Bucked By Lacey


On Friday night, Rob took Sophia to her riding lesson. She was heading to a jump with her horse, Lacey, when Lacey decided to skip the jump and started bucking. Sophia didn't have her foot properly in the stirrup, and she (in Rob's words) tried playing Superman. She landed on her face and arm. They tried putting her back on her horse, but the arm wouldn't cooperate. Hours later, and x-rays showed a complete fracture of the radius, across the bone and up to the growth plate of the hand. So, she's in a cast for 4-6 weeks and off her horse for 6-8 weeks. She's been "over it" since about 5 minutes after that prognosis was given and can't wait to get back on Lacey again!


Feeling Wordless yourself? Link up here with Create With Joy for Wordless Wednesday to join the rest of the crew!

Thanks for stopping by!


In Which I Slept Through My Favorite Holiday Of The Year


Like it says, America's Independence Day is my favorite holiday. It always has been. The pomp and circumstance, the coming-together of folks for patriotism, and of course, the fireworks - I love it all.

But today, I missed a great deal of it.


First, I stayed up well past midnight to help Chloë make this ginormous berry tart for our dessert. I have always wanted to make a flag cake for the Fourth, but it has always seemed a bit too cliché to me. I needed something amazing to check off this Food Bucket List entry. And then I spotted this slab pie:


on the Pillsbury Recipes website, and I knew I had to make it.

Only, I didn't realize that my 13" x 9" lasagna pan  (A) still not be big enough for it, and (B) Chloë would also be wanting to make making lasagna the same night, so I couldn't use that. I have two other similarly-sized metal pans for baking, but those were still too small. So, we had to use this huge cake pan from my old cake-decorating business in Virginia Beach and shift the whole recipe to accommodate its huge size.


It turned out beautifully, and she did a stellar job! 

If you're wondering just how huge the pie/tart is, maybe this will help: I bought an entire quart each of blueberries and strawberries, and a pint each of blackberries and raspberries. Not one berry was left out of the pie. Plus a whole can of mixed berry pie filling, plus two 8-oz packages of Philadelphia cream cheese, and the rest of the ingredients the recipe named. And other than my assisting as her sous pastry chef (is that a thing?), Chloë did it all.


I loved it. Sophia gave it two thumbs up. Jack just ate a couple of strawberries out of it, but that's all he wanted at the beginning. Rob must have eaten two or three helpings. And Chloë, poor thing, was not a fan at all! I have to laugh, but I also feel badly because she really wants some berries right now that aren't part of the pie! Poor thing. ;)


By then, it was after 2 AM, maybe closer to 3 AM, and I fell asleep shortly after we ate. The puppies woke me up around 7 AM, and I lasted less than an hour before I succumbed to the cravings and ate more pie. Not much more, but it put me into a Carb Coma, and I fell asleep again. I was shocked when I woke up again and looked at the clock: 4:45 PM!! Oh, my gosh. The festivities at the Homestead Speedway started at 6 PM, so it was time for Team Odette to get ready. My favorite part of the year was about to come. How 'bout a little bit more pie? Yeah. I had some. Cue another Carb Coma. I woke up again, and it was almost 11 PM. WTF?! Rob tried to wake me up. I know he did. But I was OUT. At least the kids weren't too disappointed in me, and Daddy had taken them outside to do one pack of sparklers with them.



After I finally woke up again, we all went outside and first let the kids pop each of their boxes of Pop-Its in the parking lot. Sophia asked me to help her open the inner bag, and when I tried to accomplish this task, I dropped half her Pop-Its on the ground, setting them all off! Oops. (I suck at opening stuff; ask Rob.) Never-chagrined Sophia laughingly took the other half and happily went and popped them with her siblings.


Jack had the idea, after Rob lit a sparkler for each of them, to light all the Pop-Its one more time, to see if any were still live. Of course, there are always a few, and this idea caught fire. (Sorry.)


Dauntless Sophia has been bored out of her mind with her cast inhibiting half the activities she wants to do (mostly water-related), but when she's having fun, she forgets all about it!


Chloë tired of lighting Pop-Its, finally took her last sparkler from her dad and started writing in the air. I have fond, vivid memories of doing that with my own mom and dad as a very young child. The best times!

Happy Independence Day, 'Murica. Until next year.